VA Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Frontline Healthcare Workers
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 08, 2021 – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will require all frontline healthcare staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine within the next two months. It is the first federal government agency to do so.
The mandate applies to all healthcare staff in patient-facing roles, including doctors, nurses and other employees who provide direct care. Around 70 percent of VA health center workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to date. The remaining staff has eight weeks to comply with the order. Once an employee has provided proof of their vaccination, they will be given four hours of paid leave.
“The VA is prioritizing the health and wellness of all its patients and workers. Because many veterans who receive care at VA health facilities are older and have other health issues, it is very important that they do,” said James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans, a VA disability law firm in Northville, Michigan. “Making sure that everyone working in VA health centers is vaccinated against COVID-19 allows patients to relax a bit while receiving care.”
A recent increase in coronavirus cases thanks to the emergence of the Delta variant has affected several VA locations. Four unvaccinated employees died after contracting the virus in outbreaks at healthcare centers in Little Rock, Baltimore, Orlando and Chicago. Another outbreak occurred among employees and trainees at a VA Law Enforcement Training Center. They, too, were unvaccinated when they became ill.
“Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19. With this mandate, we can once again make — and keep — that fundamental promise,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough in a statement.
Vaccine mandates are controversial, but experts have urged businesses and government agencies to consider them as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads. Several non-VA hospitals have already mandated the vaccine for employees. A federal judge ruled in favor of a hospital in Houston and upheld its vaccine requirement earlier this year. The VA is the largest healthcare provider in the United States, with more than nine million veterans in its care at 171 medical centers and 1,112 outpatient sites.
Legal Help for Veterans is a disability law firm exclusively for veterans in Northville, Michigan. For more information, visit https://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/.